Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

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Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка
Latin: Universitas Kioviensis
Motto "Utilitas honor et gloria" (Latin)
Motto in English
Utility Honor and Glory
Established 1834
Type Public
Rector Leonid Huberskyi
Administrative staff
Students 20,000
Location Kyiv, Ukraine
Campus urban
Affiliations IAU
Website www.univ.kiev.ua/

Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. Taras Shevchenko University or officially the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv[2] (Ukrainian: Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка), colloquially known in Ukrainian as KNU (Ukrainian: Київський національний універcитет - КНУ) is located in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. It is the third oldest university in Ukraine after the University of Lviv and University of Kharkiv. Currently, its structure consists of fifteen faculties (academic departments) and five institutes. It was founded in 1834 as the Kiev Imperial University of Saint Vladimir, and since then it has changed its name several times. During the Soviet Union era, Taras Shevchenko University was one of the top-three universities in the USSR, along with Moscow State University and Leningrad State University. It is ranked as the best university in Ukraine in many rankings (see below). Throughout history, the university has produced many famous alumni including Nikolay Bunge, Mykhailo Drahomanov, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Nikolai Berdyaev, Mikhail Bulgakov, Viacheslav Chornovil, Leonid Kravchuk, and many others.

The University today

Taras Shevchenko University's original building, the "Red Building", today.

Taras Shevchenko University is named after Taras Shevchenko, a major figure in Ukrainian literature and art. It is an institution of higher education that trains specialists in many fields of knowledge and carries out research. It is considered the most prestigious university in Ukraine[3] and a major centre of advanced learning and progressive thinking.[4] It consists of more faculties and departments, and trains specialists in a greater number of academic fields, than any other Ukrainian educational institution.[citation needed]

Nowadays, as it has done throughout its history, the University retains its role of a major center of learning and research as well as an important cultural center. Its academics and students follow the long-standing traditions of the highest academic standards and democratic ideals. At present, the student body of Taras Shevchenko University totals about 20,000 students; this number includes almost 2,000 students at the Institute of International Relations which is attached to Taras Shevchenko University.

As training highly qualified specialists has always been the main goal, the faculties and departments constantly revise their curricula and introduce new programs. A number of faculties offer 4-year Bachelor's and 2-year Master's Degree programs, together with traditional 5-year Specialist Degree programs. Currently the stress is on student's ability to work independently and meet employer's requirements, thus practical experience in the field being of foremost importance. The curricula of all Taras Shevchenko University faculties are based on the combination of academic instruction with student's research work and the combination of thorough theoretical knowledge with specific skills. Having acquired theoretical knowledge in the first and the second year, in their third year undergraduates choose an area to specialize in. At the same time they choose a field for their independent study, joining elective special seminars; the results of research are usually presented at the meetings of students' scientific societies or at scientific conferences, the most interesting results are published.[citation needed]


Nicholas I of Russia, a founding father of the Saint Vladimir University in Kiev.

Saint Vladimir Royal University of Kiev

File:Kiev Universitet Sv Vladimira SHCH.jpg
An early 20th-century Russian postcard picturing Saint Vladimir University in Kiev.

The University was founded in 1834, when the Emperor Nicholas I of Russia signed the Charter about the creation of the University named after Saint Vladimir, the ruler who Christianized the Kievan Rus'. This name was chosen by the authorities of the Russian Empire, where the role of Orthodox Christianity was immense, and may have reflected the ongoing importance of Kiev as the cradle of Eastern Christianity for the entire Empire.

The university benefited from assets transferred from Vilnius University, which was closed in the aftermath of the November Uprising of 1831.[5] The first 62 students started their studies at the university in 1834, in its one faculty, the Faculty of Philosophy, which had two Departments: The Department of History and Philology and The Department of Physics and Mathematics. There were new additions to the original department in 1835 and 1847: the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Medicine. Later on, the original Faculty of Philosophy was divided into two separate units: the Faculty of History and Philology and the Faculty of Natural Sciences. There were no more additions to the number of departments until the 1920s.

The walls of the main building are painted in red while the tops and bottoms of its columns are painted black. Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych's Shchedryk was premiered at the Kyiv University on December 26, 1916 by the university's choir directed by Oleksandr Koshyts.[6]

Mykhailo Drahomanov University (1920—1932)

In 1920, Saint Vladimir University was renamed as Mykhailo Drahomanov University.

Taras Shevchenko University (from 1939)

In 1939, Saint Vladimir University was renamed after Taras Shevchenko (upon graduation from the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, then the capital of the Empire, Taras Shevchenko returned to Kiev, and between 1845–1846, was employed by the Archaeological and Ethnographic Commission at the University until his arrest in 1847). Since 1960, when the first international students were admitted, over 20,000 highly qualified specialists have been trained at Taras Shevchenko University for 120 countries. The first foreign students of the Taras Shevchenko University came from Cuba, Guinea, Indonesia, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Zanzibar, Yemen, Algeria, and Afghanistan. They continued on to became doctors, engineers, agriculturists, diplomats, economists, and statesmen in their respective countries.[7]

During the Soviet period, the Taras Shevchenko University received one Order of Lenin (1959) and one Order of the October Revolution (1984). Additionally, in 2002 the asteroid 4868 Knushevia was named in honour of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University.


Reputation and rankings

In 2009, Delovoy magazine ranked Taras Shevchenko University as the best university in Ukraine, being nationally the strongest in the greatest number of academic fields.[8] According to the independent ranking of 228 universities in Ukraine performed by Compas, Taras Shevchenko University was ranked the first best position in Ukraine regarding the adequacy of alumni to the labor market of Ukraine.[9] According to Scopus (2009), Taras Shevchenko University has the highest research paper output of any Ukrainian university, and is also the top research producer (as assessed by total paper citation count).[10][11] The university features in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (2010) at 1,346 out of 8,000 in the world,[12] at 63 out of top 100 universities of the Central and Eastern Europe,[13] and a leading academic institution in Ukraine.[14]

Foreign Partner Universities

The University currently maintains relations and, in some cases, student exchange programs with universities of forty countries;[15] a figure which includes a number of former republics of the Soviet Union and other countries which Ukraine traditionally, over the past 70 years prior to independence in 1991, did not have official bilateral relations with. A small selection of partner universities is displayed below.

Country University Country University
 Azerbaijan Baku State University  China Peking University
 Armenia Yerevan State University  Italy University of Florence
 Belgium University of Liège  Poland University of Warsaw
 Belarus Belarusian State University  UK University of Leeds
 Canada University of Manitoba  Germany Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
 Greece National and Kapodistrian University of Athens  Russia Moscow State University
 France Panthéon-Assas University  Czech Republic Charles University in Prague
 Japan Ryukoku University  USA Rutgers University

Organisation and administration

Schools / Faculties

These are the 14 faculties and 6 institutes into which the university is divided:

  • Faculty of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Cybernetics
  • Faculty of Geography
  • Institute of Geology
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Information Technologies
  • Faculty of History
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics
  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Physics
  • Faculty of Radio Physics, Electronics and Computer Systems
  • Faculty of Psychology
  • Faculty of Sociology
  • Preparation Faculty
  • Institute of Philology
  • Institute of Journalism
  • Institute of International Relations
  • Military Institute
  • Institute of Postgraduate Education
  • Institute of High Technologies
  • Institute of Biology

Other institutes

The Cybernetics faculty of KNU, located at the Akademmistechko campus.
  • Astronomical Observatory of the Taras Shevchenko University[16] (Ukrainian)
  • Maksymovych Scientific Library[17]
  • University Botanic Garden named after Academic O. Fomin[18] (Ukrainian)
  • Kaniv Natural Reserved Park of the Taras Shevchenko University[19] (Ukrainian)
  • Regional Cisco Networking Academy[20] (Ukrainian)
  • Information & Computer Centre of the Taras Shevchenko University[21] (Ukrainian)
  • Scientific and Research Department of the Taras Shevchenko University[22] (Ukrainian)
  • Center of Ukrainian Studies[23]
  • Ukrainian Physico-Mathematical Lyceum[24] (Ukrainian)
  • Ukrainian Humanitarian Lyceum[25] (Ukrainian)
  • Science Park Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv[26]


After its initial establishment the university was located in private rooms in Pechersk, and was named for St. Vladimir. Now the main building (built 1837-42 by architect V I Beretti) can be found at 60 Vladimirska Street, whilst a number of humanities departments are located at 14 Shevchenko Boulevard 14 (formerly the First Kyiv Gymnasium). Furthermore, there are departments located on Glushkov Street (building 6, built 1954-70) and Vasylkivska Street (Library is located in building No. 90, built in 1939). The university's administration is housed in buildings 58-64 on Vladimirska Street.

The red building

It was constructed from 1837–1843 and was built in the late Russian Classicism style, by a Russian architect of Italian descent, Vincent I. Beretti. The building forms an enormous square enclosing a courtyard; the length of the main facade is 145.68m. The walls of the building are painted blood red and the capitals and bases of the portico's columns are painted black, corresponding to the colours of the ribbon of the Order of St. Vladimir (founded in 1782), as Kyiv University used to bear the name of this Order. The motto of the Order, "Benefit, honor and glory" (Pol'za Chest' i Slava) also, subsequently, became the motto of Kyiv University. Local tour guides sometime state that Tsar Nicholas I ordered the entire main building painted red in response to student conscription protests during World War I to remind students of blood spilled by Ukrainian soldiers. The legend does not reflect the historical fact, as the building was painted red before WWI, in 1842. Nicholas I of Russia (1825–1855) died long before World War I (1914–1918). Built at the top of a hill, this building has significantly influenced Kiev's architectural layout in the 19th century.

Botanical Gardens

The botanical garden's greenhouse.

The university's A.V. Fomin Botanical Garden (named after Academician Aleksandr V. Fomin, 1869–1935) was founded in 1839 and planned by architect V. Beretti and botanist R. E. Trautfetterom. The total area covered by the garden is around 5.22 hectares; it has a collection of over 10 000 species, forms and varieties of plants. The garden's greenhouse's height, after reconstruction in 1977, is about 33 meters and is the largest in the world. The university's first orangerie was built in 1846-49 for its collection of tropical and subtropical plants; a collection which has now over two thousand items and is one of the largest in Europe. The gardens are located at the city centre campus, to the rear of the red building; the nearest metro station is Universytet.

Yellow building and Maksymovych Library

University's library, part of the city centre campus.

The Humanities Building or 'Yellow' building of the university is located at 14 Shevchenko boulevard, built in 1850-52 it was designed in the classical style by the architect Alexander Vikentiyovych Beretti (1816–95), son of V. Beretti, the architect of by the main (red) building. The building initially belonged to the First Gymnasium (a grammar school, in which taught M. Berlin and M. Kostomarov, and students of which include: artists Nikolai Ge and V.Levandovskyy, M. Zakrevskii historian, economist M. Bunge, poet M.Herbel, sculptor P. Isabella, writers Bulgakov and K. Paustovsky and future academics E. Tarle and O. Bogomolets, A. Lunacharsky). In 1919 the academic Vernadsky, first president of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, took up residence in part of the building. Since 1959, the building has been part of the Kyiv National University.

The Maksymovych Library (58 Vladimirska Street), built in 1939-40, is a neo-classical building designed by architects VA Osmaka and P. Alyoshin as the university's Humanities building. Currently the library holds around 3.5 million books, making it currently the largest research library in Ukraine. Along with the No.1 branch of the National Library of Ukraine (62 Vladimirska Street), which was designed by the same architects in the 1929-30, and the main (red) building of the university, the Maksymovych library forms an important and impressive architectural ensemble which is today considered to be one of Kiev's key collective architectural monuments.


The building of the KNU Institute of International Relations and Institute of Journalism.

In the 1960s it became imperative that the Kyiv National University acquire more space for its greatly expanded number of departments. It was with this in mind that the building of a complex of new buildings for the university started on the southwestern outskirts of Kiev (opposite the National Exhibition Centre of Ukraine). The authors of the final project were architects V E Ladnyi, M P Budylovskyi, V E Kolomiets and engineer V Y Drizo.[citation needed]

The Institute of International Relations and Institute of Journalism's joint building at 36 Melnikova Street, developed by Kyivproect architects O Nosenko, I Shpara, Yu Duhovichny, O Klishchuk and Y Vig, was awarded the State Prize of Ukraine in the field of architecture in 1995.[27]

Astronomical Observatory

The astronomical observatory of Kyiv National University is located at 3 Observatorna Street; founded in 1845, it was initially planned to place an observatory in the Main Building of the university (as evidenced by existing architectural designs for the red building), however, it was later decided to build for a separate building to house the observatory. This task was again entrusted Vincenty Beretta, it was built in 1841-1845 and officially opened on February 7, 1845.[28]

Notable alumni

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (Intl. Law, 1992)

Heads of state, government and international organisations

State/Government Name Office
 Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk First post-independence President of Ukraine (1991–1994)
 Ukraine Petro Poroshenko President of Ukraine (2014–current)
 Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili Twice President of Georgia (2004–2008 and 2008-2013) and Rose Revolution leader
 Ukrainian People's Republic Volodymyr Vynnychenko First Prime Minister of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1917–1918) and first Chairman of the Directorate of Ukraine (1918–1919)
 Byelorussian SSR Yakov Gamarnik First Secretary of the Byelorussian Communist Party (1928–1929)
 Ukrainian SSR Valentyna Shevchenko Chairman of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR (1985–1990)
 UN Hennadiy Udovenko President of the United Nations General Assembly (1997–1998)
 Russian Empire Nikolay Bunge Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers (1887–1895)
 Kenya Amina Mohamed UNEP, WTO, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya (2013–current)

See also


  1. "УХВАЛА Вченої ради "Про кадрову політику Київського національного університету імені Тараса Шевченка"" (in Ukrainian). 2009-11-02. External link in |title= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://www.univ.kiev.ua/en University's official English website
  3. "200 of the best higher education schools in Ukraine". Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (in Ukrainian). March 30, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-09.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Decree of the President of Ukraine about Taras Shevchenko University". Press office of Taras Shevchenko University. 2008-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Yla, Stasys (Summer 1981). "The Clash of Nationalities at the University of Vilnius". Lituanus. 1 (27). ISSN 0024-5089.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Monthly Newsletter of the Tylchyn Centralized Library System (Ukrainian)
  7. The history of Preparatory Faculty
  8. "Delovoy from 26.03.2009. University ranking 2009" (in русский). Retrieved 2010-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ranking by Compas" (in русский). Retrieved 2010-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Ranking by Scopus" (PDF) (in українська). Retrieved 2010-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Yuriy Khalavka (February 4, 2009). Новина тижня: Рейтинг Вищих навчальних закладів України та установ НАНУ (in українська). Ukrainian Scientists Worldwide.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Top 6000 Universities // Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
  13. [1]
  14. University Ranking in Ukraine // Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
  15. "Подготовительное отделение". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Астрономічна обсерваторія Київського національного університету ім. Тараса Шевченка - Main". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Maksymovych Scientific Library". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Ботаник". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Канівський природний заповідник. "Канівський природний заповідник". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Мережева Академія Cisco :: Новини". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "ICC". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Науково-дослідна частина Київського університету". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "ЦЕНТР УКРАИНОВЕДЕНИЯ". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Український фізико-математичний ліцей КНУ ім. Т. Шевченка". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Український гуманітарний ліцей". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Science Park Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University". Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Відзнаки та нагороди // Веб-сайт АТ «Київпроект»
  28. [2]

External links